Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Tourism

Disney Parks Chairman D’Amaro Mentioned Among Possible Successors to CEO Iger

2 weeks ago

Josh D’Amaro, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman, could become the next CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

The company on Sunday announced Bob Iger was returning to lead Disney as CEO, replacing Bob Chapek. Iger will work closely with Disney’s board to recruit the next person to lead the company after his two-year stint.

Now D’Amaro could be next in line, according to reports.

D’Amaro recently spoke at Skift Global Forum, where he discussed how the company will continue to thrive and push boundaries around storytelling and experiences.

Meanwhile, Reuters said Dana Walden, a former Fox television executive who leads Disney’s General Entertainment Content group, was another potential internal candidate.

Whoever takes over, a big challenge will be managing Disney+, the brand’s all-in streaming video strategy, according to Reuters.

Business Travel

Disney Cutting Business Travel and Meetings-Related Travel After Belt Tightening

4 weeks ago

The first tremors of economic slowdown are beginning to be felt in the travel industry: even though Disney Parks had a record quarter, the overall parent company had a disappointing quarter in its other businesses and is now planning a hiring freeze, job cuts and other expense cuts. As part of that, CNBC reports that in a memo sent by Disney CEO Bob Chapek today, the company is cutting back on business travel as well as travel for events and internal meetings.

From the memo: “In the immediate term, business travel should now be limited to essential trips only. In-person work sessions or offsites requiring travel will need advance approval and review from a member of your executive team (i.e., direct report of the segment chairman or corporate executive officer). As much as possible, these meetings should be conducted virtually. Attendance at conferences and other external events will also be restricted and require approvals from a member of your executive team.”

This comes as tech companies are going through a blistering round of layoffs that are starting to have first order and more downstream effects in the travel sector.

Tourism

Disney Parks Posts Record Quarterly Revenue Even With Some Closures

4 weeks ago

The Walt Disney Corporation announced on Tuesday during its fourth quarter earnings call that its theme park division generated $7.42 billion worth of revenue, a division record and a 36 percent increase from the same period last year.

Disney’s theme parks posted record revenue for the quarter ending Oct. 1 despite Hurricane Ian forcing the closure of all Walt Disney World parks in Florida for two days in September and Shanghai Disneyland’s strict entry rules limiting the number of visitors. Disney Parks’ quarterly operating income of $1.5 billion was more than double last year’s figure. In addition, Disney also said its theme park division also set all-time records in both revenue and operating income for a full year.

However, Disney reported weaker than-expected-quarterly earnings in large part due to its streaming business losing $1.47 billion during the period. The company’s recorded $20.2 billion worth of revenue for the fourth quarter. Analysts had projected Disney to generate $21.27 billion of revenue.

Disney World entrance
Disney Parks posted record revenue for the fourth quarter despite the brief closure of Disney World in September. (Jrobertiko/Wikimedia Commons)

Rail

Eurostar to Suspend Disneyland Paris Trains

3 months ago

Britons will not be able to grab a direct train to Disneyland Paris next summer. High-speed rail operator Eurostar will suspend service between London and the theme park on the outskirts of Paris on June 5, 2023, it told travel agents Wednesday.

Eurostar, which is owned by French rail operator SNCF, said it needs to “focus on our core routes to stabilize our operations” for the decision to suspend trains the European outpost of the Magic Kingdom. The railroad also mentioned financial commitments, and new entry and exit requirements between the UK and EU.

In a bit of good news, Eurostar said it would “review” its operations for 2024, leaving open the door for a possible resumption of train service to Disneyland Paris.

(Joe JABRE/Flickr)

During the first six months of the year, Eurostar said business travel on its core London-Paris route had recovered to 70 percent of 2019 levels without providing exact numbers; it operated roughly 75 percent of its pre-pandemic schedule. SNCF Voyageurs, which includes Eurostar as well as SNCF’s other passenger train services, has reported a strong rebound in passenger numbers on its trains during the first half of the year, particularly from March.

SNCF received approval from European authorities to merge Eurostar and Thalys, which operates high-speed passenger trains in Belgium and the Netherlands, into the new Eurostar Group in March. The new company plans to grow ridership to 30 million people by 2030 from 19 million in 2019.

Rail

Brightline Adjusts Disney World Station Plans For Tampa Extension

5 months ago

Private passenger rail operator Brightline is going it alone on a station near Disney World as part of its planned extension from Orlando to Tampa.

The railroad had been working jointly with Disney on a station at Disney Springs that would have served the entertainment company’s parks. However, Disney surprisingly pulled out of the agreement on Monday, telling the Orlando Sentinel that a change to the planned alignment did not “support a Disney Springs station.” The new alignment, which was agreed to earlier this year, includes a stop at the Orange County Convention Center between the Orlando airport and the planned Disney station.

Brightline’s preferred alignment through Orlando. (Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission)

Brightline said Tuesday that it would build “an alternative station … located near the original Disney Springs site, albeit not on Disney-owned land.” It added that the new alignment, which will be jointly built with the Orlando-area rail operator SunRail, would “provide access to the largest economic and employment centers in Central Florida and offer the best opportunity for the success of Brightline and SunRail.”

The Disney station changes come as Brightline prepares to begin running test trains from Miami to Orlando by the end of the year. Passenger service between Florida’s two largest cities is expected to begin early next year.

Brightline ridership between Miami and West Palm Beach in South Florida is running 20 percent ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

Tourism

Disney Makes Increased Investments in Theme Parks Despite Focus on Streaming

7 months ago

Disney isn’t neglecting its theme parks, considered crucial to the company’s bottom line, despite its increased focus on Disney+ and other streaming efforts during the last two years.

Disney will unveil its newest park expansion at the end of May — the Wonders of Xandar Pavilion at Disney World’s Epcot. The attraction is based on Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” film and it features the Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster. The Wonders of Xandar Pavilion follows other recent additions to Disney theme parks, such as Avengers Campus, which opened in June 2021 and the opening of Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser. 

The company is working to complete Tron: Lightcycle Run rollercoaster and is expected to launch the Disney Wish, its newest cruise ship, this summer.

Disney will post its second fiscal quarter results on Wednesday. The company said in February that its domestic theme parks have not seen a significant return from international visitors, who prior to the pandemic, represented roughly 20 percent of its guests. Theme parks typically account for the majority of the revenue of Disney’s park division, which cruises and hotels. Disney’s shares are also down about 30 percent since January.

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